Baltimore County Announces Creation of Community Planning Institute

Official portrait of Baltimore County Executive John “Johnny O” Olszewski, Jr. On February 13, County Executive Johnny Olszewski and the Baltimore County Department of Planning announced the creation of the Community Planning Institute, an initiative to increase engagement with community members and stakeholders regarding planning, land use, and development.

The Community Planning Institute (CPI) is a direct result of Baltimore County’s first Comprehensive Enterprise-Wide efficiency review process to assist the county with streamlining operations, improving services, and saving taxpayer dollars. The report outlined more than 150 recommendations, one of which was to create a planning academy that would intentionally engage constituents.

“No one knows Baltimore County better than the people who live and work here, and the Community Planning Institute will share the tools and resources participants need to be actively engaged in plans and processes that affect their communities,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “Community engagement and advocacy is transformational and empowering, and I thank our team at the Department of Planning for organizing these interactive sessions.”

The inaugural session of the CPI will begin in May 2023 and consist of five weekly evening in-person sessions. These interactive two-hour sessions, led by various county agencies and guest speakers, will allow participants to engage in discussions and activities to deepen their understanding of planning and land use regulations, the decision-making process, access resources to keep them informed, and introduce practical ways to advocate for their communities. Topics for the first session in 2023 include Planning 101, Understanding Zoning, and the Baltimore County Development Process.

“The Department is excited to bring another resource to communities so they can better understand and be engaged in the County’s planning and development processes,” said Baltimore County Department of Planning Director Steve Lafferty. “The Community Planning Institute will provide a unique opportunity for residents to learn about zoning, land use and development and how they can be involved in decisions that are important to them and their neighbors.”

survey to solicit ideas from residents and stakeholders for the Community Planning Institute is open through February 24, 2023. For more information visit the CPI website or contact the CPI coordinator at

Baltimore County community members and stakeholders who want to broaden their understanding of the strengths, challenges, and constraints, associated with growth management and development in Baltimore County are encouraged to apply. Applications will be available in late March.